Eddie Salazar Sr. got frustrated with his crying 8-month-old son on that fateful day, Feb. 4, 2010, and started shaking the child when he realized he shouldn’t be shaking the child.
He was stopping when he lost his grip and the baby fell to the floor, hitting his head hard.
That’s the defense Salazar’s attorney, Larry Maples, presented in his opening statement to the jury Monday at the start of Salazar’s trial on one count of second-degree murder in the death of 8-month-old Eddie Salazar Jr.
Jury selection took all of Monday morning and the trial, delayed several times over the past year, got started at 3 p.m.
Prosecutor Dean Dankelson put the state’s case before the 12 jurors and two alternates, who are charged with deciding Eddie Salazar Sr.’s fate.
Dankelson started by playing part of the tape of the 9-1-1 call Salazar made on Feb. 4, 2010 in which he said two masked men had broken into his home, beaten him and taken his child.
“I can’t find my young son,” Salazar told the dispatcher on the tape. “I was asleep and my oldest son was asleep. While I was asleep someone broke in my house. I tried to fight them off.”
Dankelson described how officers first arriving on the scene found the home in disarray, but after examining it further, they believed the disarray had been staged.
“The TV was knocked over and laying down on its face, but the glass was not broken,” Dankelson said. “The television was unplugged but the prongs were not bent.”
Dankelson said Salazar told them two masked men broke into the home, but when he gave them a name of one of the men, officers checked him out and did not believe he could be involved.
Dankelson said officers questioned Salazar again and he admitted that no one broke into the home. Then gave four different versions of what happened over a 48-hour period.
Dankelson said the story changed until it ended with Salazar Sr. saying he threw his young son to the floor, killing him, then threw the baby’s body into Spring River.
Maples opened his defense with a description of Salazar Sr.’s life prior to the incident.
Maples said Salazar Sr., had lived in Carthage half his life and lived in the U.S. all his life.
He had been living with the mother of Eddie Jr. for several years and the two planned to marry, but had not gotten around to it.
“He was excited when he learned (his girlfriend) was pregnant,” Maples said. “She already had another boy, who was 2 at the time of the incident. They had formed a happy little family and had plans to enjoy the children together.”
Maples said the police interrogated Salazar after the 9-1-1 call and Salazar never said he threw the baby down on the floor.
“He explained to the police that, in frustration, he shook the child, and Capt. (Randee) Kaiser said then you threw him to the ground, and Eddie said no, I didn’t throw him,” Maples told the jury. “Eddie realized he shouldn’t be shaking the baby, but he lost his grip and the child flew out of his hands and hit the floor hard.”
The trial continues today with the start of evidence and testimony on both sides. The trial is scheduled to last all week.